There are a ton of reasons why people choose to travel abroad – maybe it’s to get away from your daily routines, the lack of sunshine in your country, the desire to see something different or just a curiosity for another country. Either way, traveling should always be enjoyable and fun.
When I came to Vietnam, I had zero expectations on what would happen. I thought it would just be one month of relaxing on the beach, seeing some beautiful landscapes, visiting the cities and eat good food. Mind you, this is what I did, but I could never have realized that this trip would give me so much more.
This is the thing about traveling – you just gotta jump head first in and go with the flow. It can be both so scary and intimidating at times, but also the best thing that you have ever done. I traveled alone in Vietnam and so did many others that I met. Personally, I think it’s one of the best ways to travel. But of course, there are cons to traveling alone as well.
Pros of traveling alone:
1. You can be just as flexible as you want to be
If I traveled with someone, I would’ve probably not done and seen much of the things I did. There were days when I just felt like sitting in a café and drinking matcha lattes, and others where I wanted to do 10 things at the same time. In Hoi An I decided to rent a bike and go all the way to Da Nang in the scorching sun. It was an adventure itself to bike on the roads and go from one city to the other – maybe this would not have been possible if I wasn’t traveling alone. Either way, being a solo traveler means that you only have to listen to you. You’re the one calling the shots on everything.
2. Meeting new people
Being a solo traveler made me more social. Since I didn’t have anyone with me on then trip, I had to force myself to become more social, participate in conversations and just be more active in meeting new people (that is, if I wanted the company). I met so many incredible travelers that has become good friends of mine and I do believe that when you travel alone, you get to meet so many people than if you travel with somebody, since you can always rely on each others company.
3. Planning just for you
If you are two, three or more, then planning can be a job itself. What does everyone want to do? Where does everyone wanna go? Deciding and agreeing on something can sometimes be frustrating when you’re traveling in groups. However, I never had any problems since I was the one calling all the shots! That feeling can be quite liberating and it gives you a sense of freedom.
4. Being alone doesn’t have to mean that you are lonely
One thing I really appreciate about solo traveling is the fact that you can be… alone. When you travel for months, you need time for yourself. Even if you travel for a short amount of time, it is so important to get that alone time and do things just for you. I value this time a lot and when I travel solo, I get to decide if I want to have company or not (usually).
Cons of traveling alone:
1. You are alone.
This can be a huge con if something happens to you. When you’re traveling with someone, you have a sense of comfort that there’s always someone there for you. When I got sick in Vietnam with fever, I wished I could have asked my friend to bring me advil or something. But I had to do everything by myself. Which isn’t the worst thing that could happen, but sometimes it does hit you that you are… alone. In a foreign country.
2. You don’t always get company
Even if it is relatively easy to get friends abroad, there are some situations where you won’t be able to meet new people. You might even go to a big hostel where there’s a ton of travelers, but you still won’t find anyone to connect with. In these moments, you will miss having a friend with you. Someone that understands you.
3. Splitting bills
This is a big con for me, especially since I want to travel as cheaply as I can. While the freedom of traveling alone is great, sometimes it is more expensive. If you have to get in a taxi for example and has to pay it yourself, when you could’ve split the bill with a friend. Or when you’re buying groceries and you wish you were at least two people, so you could cook a decent meal and not just pasta or noodles. Although the noodles in Asia are damn good.
Whatever you choose to do, always remember that there are pros and cons with everything. You just have to decide what weighs heavier for you. I have traveled with friends and had a great time, as well as traveled alone. Both experiences made me realize that it all comes down to you and what your needs are.
If you are thinking about coming to Vietnam and want to stay for longer than 15 days, make sure to apply for an E-Visa or a Visa on Arrival, which allows you to stay in the country for 30 days.
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